Good morning, Friends, and welcome to the celebration of the first ever World Quaker Day (WQD), declared by the Friends World Committee for Consultation (FWCC). They write:
"FWCC invites every Quaker meeting and church from around the world to celebrate WORLD QUAKER DAY (WQD) on October 5, 2014. As the sun rises in each area of the world, we want to remember that Quakers are worshiping through every time zone, celebrating our deep connections across cultures and Quaker traditions. We are united in love and can accompany each other on this special day that draws us together. As we worship, let us hold each other in prayer and thanksgiving, and let our hymns of praise resound across the world."
There is something a bit amusing even, presumptuous perhaps, about declaring a World Quaker Day. Who do we think we are, after all, to deserve this acclamation (even if we declare it upon ourselves!)? Then again I am grateful for the opportunity to recognize and celebrate the faithful witness of Friends around the world as they, too, try to practice their testimonies of peace, integrity, and equality, often in much more difficult situations than I can imagine. I am grateful to know that somewhere in the world there are Quakers engaged in worship different and perhaps just as powerful as mine: joyful hymn singing and fellowship in large congregations in worship that I personally may not identify with Quakerism, or feel comfortable with. (And I am aware that our silent worship may well be as foreign and unimaginable to other groups of Quakers.) And I rejoice that throughout the world there are deep communities of Quakers working for reconciliation, prevention of wars, supporting efforts of inclusion, and living lives of honesty and integrity based in their Quaker faith. It makes me think maybe we do deserve a special day of celebration for our very diverse, but in many ways cohesive, life-giving world wide fellowship of Friends.
So let us pray for our fellow Quakers in Korea, Bolivia, Sweden, Kenya, and Cuba, just to name a few, as we hold us all in the Light of spirit-led lives.